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Dael'or the Mellee Cipher

 

I've decided to do something completely different from the previous run and since people said we should give melee cipher a go maybe that will be the main focus. But I'll do you one better, this will be a melee focused run. We might use an opening blast of Arquebus fire but other then that everyone is going melee. Our only casters will be buffing/de buffing/healing so a priest and a druid (with spirit shift for melee).

 

Also this will be a Triple Crown run, so PotD Trial of Iron and Expert Mode, which also means Injuries on and if your Health reaches 0 you are toast. Because of this I will be doing it with mostly if not all custom characters and completely expect this to fail horribly and fast.

 

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Jez Watt, Solo Monk (Hard), Part 6

 

Another failure to report unfortunately.

 

 

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Just pure carelessness I guess - did not get Second Wind off quickly enough. As soon as that rogue flanked me with Escape I was in trouble due to sneak attacks.

 

I need to have a think what I'm going to do next. Not going to start anything immediately. Will still follow what others are doing.

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Congratulations, FNGRenegade! I'm thrilled that you made it. Well done!

 

Please do submit Mithlean's info to Serg for entry on our Hall of Heroes/Honorable Mention list. She deserves a place!

 

And I'm very excited for your next run. I can't wait to see a melee cipher in action.  

 

Best,

 

A.

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Aww, man I was looking forward to following Jez Watt's solo exploits. Those rogues are nasty not one miss and all upper 10s low 20s hits with sneak attack. I can't believe just one getting by can mess up the run like that. Too bad Jeiheira's witness.

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@Jaheiras Witness. Sorry for your loss. 

 

Every soloist losses a character early at some point. There's no shame in that.

 

I hope to see you back in action soon. Until then, please do continue to read and share. We appreciate your insights and perspective!

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Actually I do know what I'm going to do next: a roleplay playthrough of a character to take into PoE2.

 

 

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This will be a party playthrough, not solo as it's a pure roleplay. It's on PotD but that's not the important point; I'm not going to even try to play efficiently or use any meta-knowledge (so far as I can help it), it will just be for the story and taking decisions appropriate to the character so I have a character ready for first playthrough of PoE2. Still no-reload naturally. I'm not going to post about it in detail here except for the occasional update on how it is going :).

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Also a great plan and a fun run. I was wondering about PoE II by the way i saw the discussion and I do agree having at least 2 or 3 parties that have something ready to go sounds like a good plan. Are the people who haven't run PoE II yet going to run it blind or will you do a run just to get a feel for things? I kind of liked that a little of Mithlean's run was blind (from Act 3 on) but I'm sure that means I will die before the run is over.

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Are the people who haven't run PoE II yet going to run it blind or will you do a run just to get a feel for things? I kind of liked that a little of Mithlean's run was blind (from Act 3 on) but I'm sure that means I will die before the run is over.

 

Blind! I'd love to have a group of us start together, most of us blind. That sounds fun!

 

I'm onboard to start whenever everyone else is. Can we tentatively plan to have a group of 4: Semitigod, FNGR, Jaheiras Witness, and I?

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Dael'or - Cipher - Meeting the crew

 

So I got Dael'or to The black hound and picked up what will be my party. It will be a rugged gang, out for themselves. Most of them are based on things I've wanted to try out and draw some inspiration on builds in this forum and other places like reddit. I've tried limiting the dump stats a little but perception is just too important in my mind so some are quite min maxed. I'm ok with this though seeing I'm imposing other difficulties on myself like making this a mostly melee run with no back line.

 

  • Barbarian Tank based on lowering accuracy and having a high health pool was because I saw on the sky dragon how good accuracy reduction can be and with this being a TCS game I'd rather have high HP tanks then something like a chanter which has a low health pool.
  • Monk Retaliation based tank again high HP for the TCS run and I love the idea of two build I saw on the forums, combined a little of both with some tweaks of my own.
  • I was really doubting between a rogue or a druid, since I eventually settled on a spiritshifting focused druid I thought why not make my priest of Skaen and get some rogue action going like that. She will be using the club that can with the dreadfire pack which hobbles and weakens on hit which seems like a solid fit with Skaen.

 

Dael' or - Melee Cipher (Dual Wield)

No one has heard of her before and that's how she likes it. She moves in the shadows preferring to manipulate events but she's also not opposed to burying a dagger in someones back who needs to be dispatched. She's never been one to move around in a group but present circumstances feel threatening and she's not one to discount a broad back to hide behind or a wicked blessing to keep her save.

 

 

 

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Xzarth - Barbarian Tank (Sword and Board)

Exactly the broad back Dael'or was looking for, Xzarth is a madman who leaps into battle on a whim always the centre of attention and loving every second of it. His body covered in more scars then any lesser man could have endured, Xzarth is always looking to add more "pride" to his body and more deaths to his tally.

 

 

 

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Zhara - Monk Tank (Dual Wield)

Zhara appearance has always turned people's opinions against her from a young age in the monastery where she was raised the other children avoided her company and left her to her own devices. This meant early on in life Zhara learned to depend on her own and learned to take a hit or two. Zhara doesn't need anyone else, she's fine on her own but she is looking for a new challenge, a challenge she feels this group might be able to provide for her.

 

 

 

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Amaterasu - Barbarian Firebrand

Amaterasu was always fascinated by fire, the way it consumed without prejudice, burned without judgement, took without care. As she watched her hut burn down she heard her parents scream as the fire took their spirits. She hadn't meant to burn them as well but the fire needed to be fed. Fire is always hungry...

 

 

 

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Sardta - Priestess of Skaen (Dual wield)

Mad they called her, insane for giving up the priesthood and leaving the temple of Berath. But she had seen, Berath was nothing but a falsehood, he was nothing compared to the real power that Skaen could offer her. She always knew she was different from those pious fools, always wondering how their trinkets and food kept disappearing, never seeing the truth that was right in front of them. Those fools will learn and maybe these fools can help Sardta with that.

 

 

 

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Proszk - Druid (Spiritshift focussed)

Proszk isn't a druid that due to his connection with nature can take on the spirit of a cat, Proszk knows he is a cat forced into this weak pale body. He remembers being at the head of the pack, hunting in the frozen wastelands with his brothers. He can taste the blood of his prey on the wind as he stalks them through the snowy forests. He is a cat just waiting to be set free, maybe a watcher can help him finally realize his true potential.

 

 

 

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Edited by FNGRenegade
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Quick Note on Alyssa: Now that she has Phantom Foes + Bonus v Flanked + Apprentice Sneak Attack + Biting Whip + Draining Whip + Sure Handed Ila + Forgiveness she is starting to kick butt. I'll post a progress report soon.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Nice crew you get there, FNGRenegade. Looking forward to see how they will fare.

(Nerdy note - TCS means Triple Crown Solo run, so that's not applicable to your current run).

Good point Serg, it would just be TC I guess. Already missing my stash access and targeting circles I have to say. I don't think I'd do this again, I feel so far expert mode adds more tedium compared to difficulty maybe just tweaking the settings without expert mode is more fun.

 

I do like a lot for example not having he dispositions and missing options up there, makes it a lot easier to role play your character without worrying if your disposition will be what you want. Some times even though I think of my MC as clever an aggresive option seems to fit better but me being a min-maxer at heart then has trouble picking that especially if playing a paladin or priest.

Edited by FNGRenegade
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I do like a lot for example not having he dispositions and missing options up there, makes it a lot easier to role play your character without worrying if your disposition will be what you want. 

 

Yeah, that's exactly how I play too. Feel far more RP this way (reminds me my Planescape: Torment times).

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Dael'or - Gilded Vale and surroundings

 

Xzarth was sick and tired of this blasted porridge and Xzarth being unhappy was always infectious. Mostly just because the brute wouldn't shut up about this grave injustice to his stomach. The party had heard the old cook might be kept somewhere around Valewood so the party set out to look for him and maybe claim some bear pelts, they had heard from a villager that someone got murdered by some bears up in Valewood. Perhaps the fool had some valuables on him and even if he didn't, bear pelts always yielded a decent amount of coin. In all their haste however Zhara forgot to don her armor which she only noticed when the bear quickly punished her for this mistake. She was lucky Proszk was in the process of charming the bear as he hit her. "If this was one of my pack this smoldering fool would have been nothing more then a pile of ash." he exclaimed.

 

 

 

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In the end it appears the fool in the cave was betrayed by his friend, betrayed by his own weakness more like it thinking he could depend on his fellow man. Nevertheless Sardta atleast manages to find a stash with some minor trinkets in the cave and proposed to see what the knowledge of this villagers deed might be worth to him. After the man payed us and left with the dead man's women, e threatened some dwarf to leave the miller alone since he offered some gold pieces for the job. Then we finally got out of this town towards Magran's Fork to see if there was any loot to be found there. This time Zhara donned her armor, she wouldn't be dependent on any of these people especially not that deranged cat lover. They wandered around killing some wolves until they ran into a Forest Troll protecting a corpse. Dael'or quickly proved her worth by paralyzing the creature while the rest of the group beat into it.

 

 

 

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After meeting a strange man named Durrance (they allowed him to be their lackey by managing their possessions and following them around) the group happened upon two paladins and a mage. Without warning they opened fire instantly knocking Sardta out with a necrotic lance, Dael'or however charged the mage and quickly paralyzed her with a flick of her wrist while proceeding to fill her with holes with her trusty rapier and dagger. In the mean time the rest of the brutes were ravaging the paladins.

 

 

 

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At Black Meadow our friends ran into the thieves who stole the shipment from the Smith, now Dael'or couldn't care less about this smith but she knew that the reward for bringing his shipment back should be a fine one. The group was looking to set up for an opening volley with ranged weapons when suddenly they were scared up by a cry as Xzarth ran straight at the bandit's campfire screaming "Flee fools for Xzarth is here to end your worthless lives!". The rest of the group saw that the shout had intimidated the group of bandits so they saw their chance clear to charge in behind him, get some hits in and quickly reinforce Xzarth with some magical defences. After Dael'or managed to charm some of the bandits to help in the battle it was all over but the looting.

 

 

 

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Note: As I'm getting further in the story from Caed Nua on most likely I'll skip the more mundane fights but since these are the starting fights and often not that easy I thought I'd cover them also to get in the flow of the story telling. If you have feedback on this please let me know, I know the story doesn't always read well I see that later when reading back my post however I'm also trying to balance between having the story be great and actually also spending some time playing.

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Dael'or - Compass and Caed Nua

 

Zhara wouldn't let up, this woman was all alone in the world now that her sister had perished at the ruins. Zhara always was alone and for some reasons feels pitty for this weakling. We have nothing better to do so we might as well see if we can shake down this midwife and see if a potion falls out. We head off to the Compass and find out this bloody woman wants us to kill some Xaurips, she wouldn't even take gold! The party is thinking about turning back but Zhara won't let up about the woman and Xzarth is now shouting something about bathing in Xaurip blood. "This woman better be able to reward us properly for this" Dael'or says as she turns away and walks off, knowing the rest will follow.

 

On the trek to find the Xaurips the party spots a suspicious cave with 2 Xaurip guards. Could this be their lair, the woman mentioned north east but no cave. Going inside to investigate Xzarth spots some sporelings and immediately shouts out a challenge. The sporelings come running to the party quickly swarming them. Dael'or tries to charm one but unfortunately the simple brains of the sporelings makes them immune to complex thought and apparently charm. Luckily three of the sporelings start hitting Xzarth and Zhara while the other is quickly dispatched by Prozsk in true form. A lot of healing is required to keep Xzarth and Zhara standing but Sardta is more then up to the task and the party cleans up the mushrooms.

 

No Xaurips in the cave though so the party heads back out, finally they found the Xaurip tents and this time Xzarth is smart enough to setup for an opening volley with bolts before shouting and jumping in as usual. He scoffs at the suggestion that he might have been afraid of the sheer number of Xaurips though, "It's a good thing, these small things don't have much blood if there were less we wouldn't have much for bathing!" he shouts while cleaving one Xaurip and bashing another's teeth in with his shield. "You are all lucky I'm keeping the priest and Skirmisher charmed, or you would be standing there paralyzed while they poke little holes in you." Deal'or bites as she brings another of the Xaurips into her control.

 

 

 

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Finally all the unfriendly Xaurips fall and the charmed ones have their throats unceremoniously sliced by Dael'or. The party heads back to that blasted woman and find out she actually has another task, she needs something from the sporelings. If they hadn't already killed them anyway Dael'or would have stabbed the woman there and then, however since they had they might as well finish this and see if the pregnant villager has anything resembling a reward. She did, it wasn't much but at this point the main reward is Zhara has finally shut up about it. It's time to see if this old Watcher can help Dael'or make more sense of this whole business, off to Caed Nua.

 

Encountering some spirits in the courtyard the group has some trouble until they combine blind from Dael'or with the terrifying screams of Xzarth to cower the spirits (who knew spirits could be terrified). This way the group cleared the courtyard in relative ease and breached the keep. Inside they found a big group of spirits that were dispatched without much issue using the same tactic of blinding and terrifying the spirits while focusing them down as much as possible. With so many members of the party standing toe to toe with the spirits their damage was spread and easily healed up by Sardta.

 

 

 

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The spiders in the cellar provided more of an issue, they quickly swarmed Zhara and took her down. The rest of the group managed to form a line and break up the spiders though making the damage more manageable and they wen't down soon after. After which the team finally met the old watcher, it was finally time for some answers. Or was it, this guy was nothing more that a lunatic, mumbling about past lives and the horrible things he had done. The only useful information he spouted in his endless tirade was something about a group called the leaden key and the temple of Woudica. Just another place to investigate, this old watcher is going to pay for not being more useful. The watcher summoned some blights to his aid but it was no use, Xzarth and Zhara took care of the blights along with Proszk and Amatersu while Dael'or and Sardta bashed in a paralyzed Maerwald's skull.

 

 

 

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This gave the group access to their own keep which was a nice upside after all the disappointment that was the old watcher. Giving some orders to the sentient throne, who would even believe the group when they mentioned that, they moved towards defiance keep. There at the inn they ran into a group of adventurers who looked like they just came off a big score. Dael'or saw her chance by grouping up the team between the tables and quickly dispatching of the mage and priest of the group while the rest formed a wall between her, Sardta and their burly guys. Afterwards it was a simple matter of using some charm to turn the dwindling numbers against themselves and the group got their loot.

 

 

 

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This got Dael'or a nice shiny new dagger, perfect for stabbing people who didn't deserve charming. And the group decided to take some well deserved rest at the Goose and Fox.

Edited by FNGRenegade
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Alyssa, Wood Elf Cipher: Entry 5- Defiance Bay, Part 1

 

By the time her party reached Defiance Bay, Alyssa, who once struggled to be relevant in combat, began to find her groove.

 

In per encounter ability fights, she often took the lead, along with Kana, disabling foes to the benefit of the party.

 

 

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And in per rest abiltiiy fights, she had found a valuable niche: disabling front line enemies, relieving pressure on our tanks.

 

In our per rest ability fights, we use Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds + Iconic Projection-> Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon. That's a lovely combo. Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds does wonders on low level group, disabling and killing. Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon adds additional damage for foes with more staying power. The Iconic Projection add yet more damage, while also restoring any health lost by tanks. But what if enemies can apply pressure to the tanks faster than Iconic Projection can heal it? That's where Alyssa's cipher powers come in. Mental Binding is a perfect tool fo relieving pressure on tanks. Mind Wave can help, too. Mind Wave also has the side benefit of enhancing the efficacy of Iconic Projections, via Reflex penalty. The system works, as seen here in The Queen That Was quest's focal battle. Note that damage is negligible- including cumulative Heath damage to our tanks.

 

 

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Conserving spells in the endgame, the party let Kana and Alyssa finish our last enemies. Mental Binding-> White Worms.

 

 

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As it turned out, we still had a few stragglers to dispatch. A slight miscalculation, resulting from the unexpected presence of a troll, led to a first use of Escape from Alora. Escape is a much maligned talent, but I expect to get good use out of it in this run. Escape will allow Alora to safely leap over our kill zone and deflection wall, letting her facilitate Ectopsychic Echo use without compromising AoE spell deployment or tactical positioning.

 

 

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Surprise, surprise: there's another troll. That's great. Two is perfect: one for Alyssa, via Mental Binding and another for the Fabulous Mr. Daret.

 

 

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Next, we completed a series of side quests, starting with His Old Self. An opening arbalest from Alora and a Mental Binding from Alyssa prevented Nyrid from getting off a spell. Due to positioning, we skipped Chill Fog this time, using Combusting Wounds (from Alora, via ring, as always) + Concelhault's + Arcane Assault + Iconic Projection.

 

 

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Mind Wave pulses relieved pressure and helped the Iconic Projections along.

 

 

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On the second floor we were free to use Chill Fog. Note the cumulative health damage to Eder here. Surprising, isn't it? That  was a consequence of letting Eder solo the straggler guards on floor 1. In my prior run, I had allowed Arcadia to do that, full buffed, wielding Concelhault's Parasitic Staff. She cut through them with ease. Eder had far more difficulty.

 

 

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Up to this point, the majority of the damage our party had taken was due to allowing one character or another to solo one critter or another. I'm okay with that. This is not a minimal damage run, although we have been striving to keep everyone happy and healthy most of the time.

 

On to Built to Last. Alyssa, wearing a robe, took some damage from an arrow here. I didn't like that. Our near term solution was Psychovampiric Shield. Long term, we'll be equipping Alyssa in pierce proofed hide. Due to hide's +20% positive adjustment via piercing, it takes pierce proofing well, leading to a high piercing DR, relative to the speed penalty. Later, we'll switch to padded armor, starting with Jack of Wide Waters.

 

 

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We deliberately minimized spell use in The Parable of Wael. We tossed a Chill Fog to muffle the ranged fighters and used Mental Binding + Divine Mark to dispatch a backline threat, but we deployed little else. The damage to Alora, seen here, post partial heal from Holy Radiance, was due to a reckless melee engagement, ultimately terminated via Escape. While I hope to keep Alora standing in as many fights as possible, her personality and portrait were both selected to encourage dangerous and daring assaults.

 

 

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Next, At All Costs. We sided with the Doemenels, on account of Alora's insistence that they would prove valuable allies. Alyssa wasn't sure about this, but when in doubt, she follows Alora's lead.

 

 

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And now for the hard part: letting go of Eder. Eder has accompanied all of my PCs, in all of my runs. It saddened me to see him go. Until next time, big fella! Have fun with those off screen adventures!

 

 

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Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Exclusively ranged. Her shots from Forgiveness have good kick: she routinely reaches the 60s, sometimes the 70s. With the +20 speed factor, Sure Handed Ila, padded armor and a high Dex, firing rate isn't terrible. Gunner and Deleterious Alacity of Motion, soon to come, should help further. She builds focus quickly while staying safe. I like it.

 

Best,

 

A,

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Dael'or - Catacombs

 

The group went off into the catacombs in search of the secondary entrance to the temple of Woudica. They quickly ran into another group of those strange smelly mushroom creatures. They setup for the fight and everything went well, for some reason (Xzarth thinks his initimidating presence) most of the mushroom creatures stayed back relying on their troll friends to do the heavy lifting and those were excellent pray for Dael'or tricks.

 

 

 

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However suddenly one surged in on the left of the group and knocked down Sartda who quickly went down completely being surrounded by trolls and on her back. This created a hole in the line which suddenly the mushrooms rushed through surrounding the party and knocking down most if not all. Furthermore being completely immune to Dael'or's mind tricks both charm and paralyze they seemed unstoppable. One by one the team went down, first proszk his true cat form wearing off as he hit the ground. Then Zhara let off a quick burst of flame as she fizzled out. Finally Xzarth looked at the last two left with a mad gleam in his eye and said "It seems these smelly mushroom's will be bathing in our blood tonight!". And with these last words the rest of the group got trampled by... smelly.... mushrooms....

 

 

 

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I learned quite a bit from this run short as it was. I learned I'm not gonna be doing Expert mode again but I am going to tweak my settings a bit for next run. I also quite liked some builds and wasn't impressed with others. Now this might mean nothing at this low level but I will for sure recycle some while changing up some others for a next run. I'll follow suit with Jaheira's witness and make this a roleplaying run to setup the world for PoE 2. And since I'm a real goody goody usually when playing RPGs the party will be a lot different from this one although it might contain some of the same builds. Coverage might be a bit more sparse though I'm not sure yet, I wanna focus on doing a completionist run and the thought of describing much more then the big fights seems disheartening.

 

 

 

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Edited by FNGRenegade
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"Random" loot is not truly random. It is actually formula based (mainly) depending on day of the month. The formula was long ago cracked, which means if you look in particular treasure locations on particular dates of the month, you can guarantee certain (quite powerful) items. Which leads to player abuse of always turning up to Raedric's Hold (for instance) on x day of the month to get Gloves of Manipulation, Gauntlets of Accuracy etc. Or even leaving loot chests unopened when you encounter them so you can come back later on the right day to get the item you want. It's flagrant abuse and cheesy as hell, but that turns some people on. If you use the IE mod, you can switch on loot shuffler which gives you a random item each time without the silly date abuse.

 

Upscaling is available for WM1, WM2, Act 3 and Act 4. If you start (and only when you start) these quests at relatively high level (for instance, WM1 at level 9 or above I think), you get a one-time option of "upscaling" these areas to give you more of a challenge (since your high level might mean you find the area too easy since it is designed for lower level parties). I believe (not 100% sure) that upscaling simply gives every opponent 3 more levels, with the appropriate bonuses to endurance, accuracy, defences and additional abilities that would entail. So if an opponent was previously level 6 in the base game, it will be level 9 after upscaling.

 

It's a good option and well worth doing if you are offered it, as otherwise the late game can become too much of a steamroll. 

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